"The Sunny Raw Kitchen" – 2 new articles
I know that this is technically the second 'Recipe of the Week' that I post but what can I say… New concoctions are starting to pile up again and I'm itching to share them! lol
A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a coffee ice cream recipe I had jotted down at Gayle's in Portland. Sounded mighty good to me. Alrighty then, time to put our new ice cream maker to work! (How did I survive without one of those for so long!?!)
One common issue that I've noticed with ice creams is that the mixtures tend to be 'crystally' rather than creamy if there isn't a high enough fat content. I was concerned that this was going to be the case with this recipe and, well, one thing led to another and I ended up giving it a few extra tweaks.
The combination of coffee and chocolate couldn't help but bring to my mind the rich flavors of Tiramisu. I decided to serve it as a Tiramisu Sundae; layering the ice cream with Whipped Cream I had already made and topping it with cacao nibs and sifted cacao powder. Need I say more?
Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
1 1/2 cups cashews
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Chill mixture in fridge or freezer then process through ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Alternatively, freeze in ice cube trays until solid and then process through a champion juicer with a blank plate or high-speed blender.
~ For a Tiramisu Sundae: I placed some of the mixture straight out of the ice cream maker in a pretty glass bowl, followed by a Whipped Cream layer and more Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream. I placed the bowls in the freezer to set then finished off with Whipped Cream pipped on top, a few cacao nibs and sifted cacao powder.
Keeping with the theme of decadent frozen desserts, I'll leave you with a photo of the Banana Toffee Ice Cream I made from Matthew Kenney's upcoming Everyday Raw Desserts. This was sooooo good! I had a bit of a hard time with the toffee, as the texture remained soft even after sitting in the freezer for hours. This turned out to be a bonus; when I served the ice cream the toffee had somehow melted on the inside!
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As I mentioned in a previous post, we celebrated two occasions earlier this month: I turned 39 years young and, I have been walking alongside Don for 10 years now. Wow, what an amazing journey Life is turning out to be!
Although I hadn't spent much time experimenting in the kitchen for months, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to do something about that. Since we were expecting the visit of our friends, Mosaica and Pontifex a few days after my birthday, I thought "What the heck! How about we have TWO celebratory feasts!" I wanted to whip up something a little special, and if you recall, I asked for your help in planning the menu, but only a couple of people responded. (Thanks Jozzy and Lisa!)
After much pondering, browsing online and flipping through my recipe books, I finally settled for the following yummies…
Raw Feast #1
Ruby's Smokin' Hot Tomato Soup
2 cups fresh tomatoes (I like cherry or grape baby ones)
Blend all ingredients in your blender, combine until you reach a creamy consistency. If you want to reduce the heat, use less chili flakes.
~ I used 1/2 avocado instead of olive oil.
~ I used less chili as we don't like too spicy.
For our 'plat de resistance', my friend Jozzie had suggested a Beet Terrine that Tofu666 featured on his blog, but the instructions were very vague and I didn't feel up for filling in the blanks. Keeping with the idea of a layered dish, I chose the Basil & Spinach Flan from Matthew Kenney's Entertaining in the Raw (which I highly recommend, by the way.)
I'd only used Irish moss in a savory dish once before and was itching to give it another try. The texture was interesting although I was expecting something much lighter, as Irish moss gives to desserts such a light/melt-in-your-mouth quality. The flan was accompanied by a Brazil Nut Foam which didn't turn out quite as foamy as it should. I thought that the foam's hint of cardamom blended very nicely with the flan's milder flavors. I halved the recipe and somehow didn't have enough of the white cream to make several layers so I settled for one thick green stripe flanked by two thin white ones. I served the dish with a simple spinach salad with slices of cucumber and tomato and homegrown sprouts.
Sure made for a lovely presentation!
Dessert was the easiest part to decide on, although there's a little story to it…
With our months on the road I've fallen behind on what all's been going on on the raw scene. Since our return some of my energy has been freed so that I can at last do some catching up and scout for new recipes and ideas. (I am soooooooo ready to revamp our staples; it feels like we've been eating the same dishes for like a year!)
I wasn't so out of the loop though that I didn't know that Matthew Kenney was releasing a new book, Everyday Raw Desserts. I finally got a chance to hop over to Amazon to check it out and was stoked to discover that I could take a peek inside the book. The table of contents alone got me drooling! Everyday Raw Desserts has chapters on cookies and candy, brownies, bars and fudge, puddings, flans and custards, pies and tarts, cakes and cheesecakes, comfort food, ice cream and frozen treats, chocolate and finally raw dessert staples. Wow, this promises to join Sweet Gratitude and Heathy's Just Desserts on my shelf of 'raw dessert essentials'!
Not sure how I did it but the first time I browsed through the book on Amazon I managed to see a bunch of recipes such as Cinnamon Cake, Marzipan, Vanilla Almond Panna Cotta, Double Chocolate Pudding, Baklava and Cinnamon Cake. *wiping the drool off the keyboard* I somehow had the wits to leave the tab open and was able to glance through them at will, which was a great thing as when I tried going back later all I could access were excepts from the first chapter on cookies. *scratching her head*
One of the recipes that caught my attention was a Pear Frangipane; a French classic. I love love the rich flavor of almond extract so decided to make it for my first birthday feast. I didn't have any ripe pears on hand but that didn't deter me; I used blueberries instead. Traditional frangipane is a fragrant, moist filling flavored with nuts (usually almonds, but also sometimes hazelnuts or pistachios) and used in pies, tarts and cakes. It's usually egg-based, which puts it in the custard family, although its texture can vary greatly, ranging from a light pastry cream to a firm batter.
The raw rendition in Matthew's book is a combination of almond pulp (left over from making milk) and Irish moss paste. Let's pause here for a moment… Irish moss paste or gel consists of a mixture of Irish moss and water. However if you've come upon these in recipes before then you know that every chef has its own version of it, using a different ratio. There were no specifications in the Frangipane recipe as to how to make the paste. I'd stumbled upon another recipe to be featured in Matthew's upcoming book, the Triple Layer Chocolate cake on his site, which called for Irish moss paste but same deal, no specific directions. Hum, what to do? I decided to drop Matthew a line and inquire about the matter. Within hours I received a reply from Meredith who works with him and happens to be the actual recipe creator. She was so kind, walking me through the process and answering my questions.
You guys will have to patiently wait for Everyday Raw Desserts to be released (hopefully next month!) before you can try this recipe at home, but I'm sharing the few mods I made anyways.
For the crust, I used a mixture of cashew and coconut flours instead of just cashew, and then completely forgot to add the coconut oil. I don't think it was a big deal; it still held nicely.
For the filling, I doubled the amount of almond extract, used vanilla powder instead of scraped beans (so much easier to work with!), and agave only as I had no honey. I also cut down on the amount, using about 1/4 cup less sweetener.
Oh, and I would recommend sifting the agave powder before adding it to the other ingredients as I had trouble getting rid of the lumps.
Meredith sure was inspired for this one as the texture was awesome!
For the Fruit Topping, I used about 1 1/4 cups blueberries instead of the pear. I also skipped the dehydrator step, just tossing the berries in a little agave, lemon juice, liquid vanilla and salt. I then had fun creating a blueberry lattice.
Lastly, instead of adding an agave glaze, I drizzled the left over liquid mixture on top. Afterward I wished I had thickened it up with some of the Irish moss paste; I remember using a similar technique in one of Sweet Gratitude's recipes.
The glaze ended up being absorbed into the frangipane filling so it didn't look as pretty but boy, was it ever tasty!
Heavenly! And so different in texture than anything I've tried before!
Ahhhhhhh! What a feast we had ourselves! But the best part was that we were up for another one a few days later with our friends! Yay!
In the meantime we ran out of dessert (now can't have that happen can I?) so I whipped up Cafe Gratitude's Strawberry Brilliance Pie which I served as parfaits. Not only was it a great way to use some of the extra Irish moss but it sorta fell in line with my birthday tradition (my mom would always make me strawberry shortcake). This is really to live for! In fact, a friend even told me that it was THE best dessert she EVER had! How about that!?!
Raw Feast #2
Creamy Zucchini & Basil Bisque
4 cups chopped zucchini (or 4 small to med. ones)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
If you wish a warm soup, use hot water or heat it up gently on the stove on medium heat while stirring constantly.
The main course was BBQ Skewers from Sarma's Living Raw Food. The recipe calls for Lapsang Souchong tea to give a slight smokey flavor to the veggies. This technique was also used for the delicious Portobello steaks we enjoyed at Matthew Kenney's restaurant in Florida. On Jozzie's recommendation I used half of the amount of tea called for which also helped reduce the level of caffeine – a bonus for me.
The veggies were first marinated for a few hours, placed onto skewers (I just left them 'loose') and dehydrated on teflex sheets for 3 hours. I was amazed at how 'cooked' they looked!
In her book Sarma serves the BBQ Skewers with a coleslaw. I didn't read the recipe properly and just went ahead and made the Dill Mayonnaise, thinking it was to accompany the veggies. When I realized that it was intended for the coleslaw I set it aside. I used it later for tomato and sprout sammies and it absolutely rocks! Really very good!
And last but not least, we enjoyed the Triple Layer Chocolate Cake, also from Matthew Kenney's upcoming Everyday Raw Desserts.
Makes one 9 inch cake
Yields 2 Cups
To prepare Irish moss. Thoroughly rinse the seaweed to remove any sand or particles. Soak rinsed moss in cool water for 3-4 hours. You do not want to soak it too long because it will decrease its gelling potential.
In the vita-mix blend the moss adding the water a little at a time, the moss varies in water content so you may need less or more depending. You want the paste to smooth and thick, not watery. Once the desired consistency is achieved add a few Tbsp agave and about a tsp lemon juice. This makes the perfect Irish moss paste for use in desserts. It will store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
~ I halved the recipe at first but it wouldn't blend properly so I added an extra 1/2 cup of moss thinking there wasn't enough liquid in the blender. It still wouldn't blend. I kept adding water so that I could get the moss to 'explode' (as someone once described it) into a gelatinous mixture. In the end, it worked out to be 1 1/4 cup water to 1 1/2 cup moss (before chopping). When I told Meredith about my difficulties she said that it depends on the moss, as the gelatinous content can vary. Ahhhhhh, I'd never thought of that before but it makes sense!
~ I omitted the agave and lemon juice as I wanted a more neutral paste. I figured all I'd have to do is add a bit of these to the desserts instead.
To Make Cake Batter
~ I made the Cake Batter in my food processor.
~ For the Fudge Frosting, I totally read 'Cacao Butter' instead of 'Coconut Butter' since the Cake layer called for Coconut Oil. Anyhoo, I used Cacao Butter and it worked beautifully. 😉 Also, you know how whether the oil/butter is measured before or after melting makes quite a difference? Well in this case the amount before melting didn't feel right to me. I was concerned that the frosting wouldn't be firm enough so decided to go with 3/4 cup (well, actually half of that) of melted cacao butter. I also added 1 tbs lecithin, just to be safe.
And thus ended an array of exquisite gourmet treats. Guess I'll just have to pretend that every day is 'special' from now so that I can keep experimenting, eh? 😉 I'm lovin' all that novelty!
Wishing you all a very blessed and special day too!
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